Stephan Simon | Journal of European Competition Law & Practice
One of the interesting aspects of this case is the fact that it should be considered in the much broader context of the future of mobility, which will be based on a variety of modes of transport, including shared, electric, and autonomous vehicles. The Parties stated that the rationale of the deal would be to prepare for a future in which individual car ownership and, therefore, vehicle sales would decrease. Mobility would instead be provided as a service, and, with the advent of autonomous vehicles, the distinction between car sharing, ride hailing, and taxis would disappear. Although the Commissions assessment took into account the dynamic nature of the market, it did not consider professionally driven ride-hailing services and customer-driven car-sharing services as belonging to the same market. The market for (free floating) car-sharing services, as well as new mobility in general, is rapidly evolving. Innovative transport solutions are frequently emerging, which makes it difficult to establish a clear view on how the competition will play out in the future, while making it all the more crucial to keep markets open and facilitate entry. The access remedy accepted in this case is intended to ensure just that, namely, it is aimed at lowering the barriers to entry in this fast-growing market to ensure that a sufficient number of alternative options will be available to customers. A second interesting aspect from a competition policy perspective is how a diversion survey enabled the quantification of out-of-market constraints alleviating the horizontal concerns. These were particularly important in this case since there are many ways to ‘get from A to B’, with new ones constantly being developed and popularised under the buzzword of‘new mobility’.